My Hospital Intiative and being in Miss Earth Canada

Here is my Miss Earth specific blog The official site for Miss Earth Canada is

Check out the Borama Fistula Hospital, Amoud University Medical School and the nursing programme at Borama General Hospital @ : why I am started this!!!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Madbakh, the Queen, at the Hague

Halima with the mayor of the Hague, and a delegate from Madbakh of Toronto, in the Hague, Netherlands!!!! (Below, Michael Ignatieff at a Madbakh Women International event).

Halima with Her Excellency Queen Elizabeth II of England (far bottom).

So Halima Saad, our executive director, and a colleague of ours went as delegate to the metropolis conference in the Netherlands. They gave a presentation on Madbakh Women, both the local initiative empowering visible minority immigrants in Toronto, and the hospital in Borama.

On the Metropolis Project:

The International Metropolis Project

The International Metropolis Project is an international network of researchers, policy officials and NGOs sharing a common vision of enhancing migration and diversity policy by applying empirical social science research. It will help us to better understand the implication for immigrants and societies overall of processes of migration and integration.

Annual Conferences
Our international conferences represent the largest annual gathering of experts in the fields of migration and diversity. In addition to a comprehensive study tour program, and just under 100 workshops, our plenary programme offers access to the thoughts, challenges, and prescriptions of some of the world’s key experts.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

madbakh women's intiative

Madbakh women's initiative is have a conference soon! Excited! Hague.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Photos by Richard

Maria Al-Masani

Madbakh women's initiative something I am excited to work on next, after done photoshoots.

Photographer: Richard Gibbs

I love working with these photographers, make-up artists, etc. It is exhilarating to be part of a creative team, and watch the result of a group effort.

Richard is amazing. He has a refined taste, we bounce off ideas, and he picks great angles. A true artist. Of course, and Ottawa Fashion Week photographer, sommelier par-excellence, what does one expect. He is also fun and great to work with.

Monday, September 6, 2010

More Photos by Carole!!!!

Here they are.

Maria Al-Masani
Maria Al-Masani

Maria Al-Masanii

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Carole's amazing photo

Maria Al-Masani

Carole took this photo of me, made it her profile photo. So far, it is the best photo of me I have had. More are too come!

Death and Medschool

I was with a friend at a restaurant, full of colour, spice and music, listening to the fascinating thing my friend was saying... and then I overheard something interesting from two people nearby.

The story that distracted me, briefly: One of the friends of the two girls died of a heart attack in med-school right before her final assessment to become a doctor! They said, how sad, you don't have a life all your life studying to get perfect grades... and then .... just before you have a life, you die. Just before you touch your dreams and start living, you are no more.

An intriguing thought... "And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!" -Shakespeare. But whether life is a tale of sound and fury, signifying nothing, I would have issues with. It is funny, just turning 26 a couple weeks ago, and it made me realize that I am beginning to age, and my time on this earth is limited I certainly do not want to end up like the med-school student. I want to live, fully and vibrantly, with colour, music, dance and delight. We live once and we do not know of the life after.

I have survived many things, and now have overcome PTSD, am happy and perfectly healthy, changing my perspective on life. Laughter is more important than any "A" in university. Before, with PTSD, death was a merciful relief. Now it is a sad ending for a life not yet fully lived. I want to see Thailand. I want to go to the Uffizzi Gallery in Florence,, t I want to start microfinance programmes for women, programmes to train nurses, support bush hospitals. I want to change the average marriage age in Yemeni villages from 12 to 21.

I want to dance, I want to paint, and I want to laugh, I want to live! I want to enjoy every day of my life as I enjoy this day, listening to classical music before my workday begins in this lovely cool sunny September morning breeze.

I want to preserve the last vestiges of my youth before I vanish into the unknown through the frames of a lens of an ISO 1600. I feel every time when a camera takes my image, I cheat eternity for a day. One day, even Mozart will be forgotten as the sun will eat the earth. In creating art, one is briefly breaking the invisible walls of time, and perhaps in Marcel Eliade's symbolism, creating a sacred space beyond time. Yet, it is not cheating eternity that brings happiness. What brings the most happiness in my experience is always bringing joy or relief to the lives of ephemeral beings like one's self, and often people too poor to have their names carved permanently on a gravestone. Since life is so brief, finding happiness and purpose is of essence not to make it such a waste.

The Queen of England, who is 84 said the happiest people she has known:

Over the years those who have seemed to me to be the most happy, contented and fulfilled have always been the people who have lived the most outgoing and unselfish lives; the kind of people who are generous with their talents or their time.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Photoshoot with Richard Gibbs

Fashion week's Richard Gibbs is utterly amazing. Working with him was so fun! An intellectual, connoisseur, creative talent extrodinaire!

Here are some of the latest. More to come!
Maria Al-Masani

Maria Al-Masani

and my favorite!!!

Maria Al-Masani

Maria Al-Masani

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Photoshoot photo from Kyle Jackson from Lone Leaf

Maria Al-Masani
close up

Maria Al-Masani

I had an amazing photoshoot with Kyle Jackson from Lone Leaf. My mother said they were some of the best shots of me she has seen.

I am doing more photoshoots to expand my portfolio. He was great, amazing use of flash outdoors, light reflectors, great ideas, great shots. Definately a perfectionist. A very high level of professionalism and dedication to his craft. I am blessed and lucky to work with him.

Here is the best one, and another great one is coming up!

Pakistan Floods

My heart goes out to the people of Pakistan. Please donate if you haven't already. If you are in Canada, the government will match your funds.

Two thirds of the population are affected. Most savings and investment are not put in banks, but in property that now is under water and has washed away.

Naheed Mustafa

The real fallout from Pakistan's flood

Last Updated: Friday, August 20, 2010 | 5:15 PM ET Comments7Recommend14

The pictures arrive almost daily in my inbox, some professional, some quickly snapped on a cellphone.

They are almost all the same: hands reaching out for a meagre bag of wheat; a lone, scrawny child, wide-eyed and bewildered; water so deep that only the very tops of buildings are visible.

The flooding in Pakistan has been labeled with every kind of adjective — unprecedented, devastating, Biblical, epic, cruel. Some 20 million people — almost two-thirds the population of Canada — are directly affected.

The Indus River, usually a kilometre across at its widest, now measures up to almost 30 in some places. It has raged along a thousand kilometres, carving up the land, washing away homes and dragging away cattle and crops.

My relatives in Nowshera in Pakistan's northwest were flooded out of their home. They are unsure if they can salvage anything.

Like most people in Pakistan, their money isn't in a savings account, it was invested almost entirely in building their house. Lose the house, you lose everything.

It is difficult to overstate the enormity of the catastrophe here.

Pakistan is a nation of farmers but the agricultural sector has now been almost wiped out.

Harvest season was just around the corner when the rains came. So this season's crops are gone. And probably the next two as well. Sugar cane, cotton, wheat — all finished.

Some estimates put the cost of rejuvenating the agricultural sector at $15 billion. And that can come only after the tonnes of silt deposited by the floodwaters are removed.

Zardari doomed

One of the overarching themes in the news coverage in Pakistan and abroad is that the disaster was compounded by the incompetent response of the Zardari government.

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, wearing a cap, talks with flood survivors in Jampur on Thursday, Aug. 19, 2010. He has been saying that Islamic terrorists may exploit the chaos and misery caused by the floods in Pakistan to gain new recruits, remarks echoed by U.S. Sen. John Kerry, who toured some of the worst hit areas alongside the president. (B. K. Bangash/Associated Press)  Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, wearing a cap, talks with flood survivors in Jampur on Thursday, Aug. 19, 2010. He has been saying that Islamic terrorists may exploit the chaos and misery caused by the floods in Pakistan to gain new recruits, remarks echoed by U.S. Sen. John Kerry, who toured some of the worst hit areas alongside the president. (B. K. Bangash/Associated Press)

As Pakistan drowned, President Asif Ali Zardari was touring France and the U.K. He was ostensibly on official business but the daily reports showed him casually dressed in jeans and a sport jacket — no tie — smiling and waving with his children in tow.

Through its actions over the years, the Pakistani government has cultivated an image for itself as corrupt and forever travelling with begging bowl in hand. And certainly that image is one of the reasons foreign aid has been slow to arrive.

So far, less than half of the pledged money has found its way into the country. But the fact is that while the optics of Zardari's overseas jaunt were bad, there was nothing the government could have done.

Plainly, this is a natural disaster of immense proportions and even the most focused official response could not have staved off the devastation.

The immediate aftermath will be handled in much the same way as the massive earthquake of 2005, with a mixture of local and international help from non-governmental organizations, formal international aid, and private citizens doing what they can, person to person.

Still, the anger against the government is increasing day by day. People are frustrated that they are still sleeping on the sides of roads surrounded by their children and belongings. Food and water are scarce; disease is spreading.

Mosharraf Zaidi is a Pakistani columnist who has worked for the development agencies of both the American and British governments. He says there's a growing feeling that the government will not survive the fallout.

"Zardari has become a lighting rod for the entire civilian structure. Whatever life this government had, this is the end. There is no recovery from this."

A challenge to democracy?

But the real issue here isn't just that Zardari — who never polled better than 20 per cent anyway — will be more reviled. It is that there is a real risk people will give up on the civilian system all together.

Pakistan's military is widely perceived to be a more efficient and less corrupt institution than civilian government.

And while no one is talking about a military coup at the moment, the growing disillusionment with the civilian leadership certainly throws into question Pakistan's experiment with democracy.

In the Western press, there has been much hand-wringing over the growing presence of the aid wings of certain militant organizations in the relief effort. But the phenomenon is not new.

These same organizations came out after the last big natural catastrophe, the 2005 earthquake, and delivered aid to people in some of the most remote and inaccessible parts of the country.

The Pakistani relationship with these groups is complex and it's simplistic to say that if people accept their help, they will also join their cause.

The greater fear at the moment is connected to Pakistan's long-term economic prospects.

Zaidi says the most recent projections predict Pakistan's economy could contract by up to 10 per cent as a result of the flood. That's a loss of about $17 billion in GDP, a reality, he says, "that is too depressing to contemplate."

There is no way international aid can make that up. Short-term relief is one thing, but over the next little while Pakistan is going to have to reconstruct itself.

Another crossroads

Given the track record of Pakistani governments, it feels naïve to think about best-case scenarios and self-motivated reconstruction.

When the earthquake ravaged Pakistan-administered Kashmir in 2005, governments and individuals opened their hearts and their wallets. The devastation in certain areas was so complete, it was hard to imagine those communities could ever come back to life.

When I went there five months later, towns and villages lay in ruins and families were living in UN-allotted tents. The schools were being run outdoors and people were waiting in long lines for housing reimbursements and rations.

Today, five years later, the town of Balakot is still waiting to be rebuilt and bodies are still being pulled from the rubble in Muzaffarabad at the earthquake's epicentre.

Every few months, it seems that some obscenely violent event in Pakistan heralds the declaration that the country is now at a crossroads of some great geo-political importance.

But those bombings and killings seem like mere blips on the radar in comparison to the deep and wide destruction this flood has wrought.

The Pakistani people are slowly emerging from their shock and the vastness of the task ahead is revealing itself.

An honest assessment is that it is unclear if the nation can gather itself up and move forward, or if its future prospects drowned with its crops.

One thing is certain, though: Without the continued and focused help of the international community, Pakistan and its people will not recover.

Read more:

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Medic killed in Afghanistan

Karen Woo holding a baby at The French Medical Institute for Children in Kabul

A foreign doctor is killed in Afghanistan. It happened to a friend of mine in Yemen who was very dedicated to the people of Yemen, Martha Meyers. She said her biggest fear was to leave Yemen, but in Yemen she was assassinated.

When two elephants fight, it is always the grass that suffers. This is NOT about religion, but it is about politics and power. As foreign military forces, from Alexander the Great, to the Persians to the British to the Russians, then Americans, have all spilled the blood of innocent Afghan civilians.

Some times it was spilled by accident, sometimes on purpose with the intention of instilling fear, sometimes out of anger. It shocked the civilian population, who later became desensitized enough that when a local group tried to seize power, using equally violent and outrageous means became perfectly acceptable. After all the devil you know is better than the devil you don't know. When it come to bad boys, our boy is our boy, and by definition better than theirs. This makes such crimes excusable, not altogether illegal.

Violence, whether it is domestic abuse, war crimes, treating adults like children, genocide or killing doctor is all the same. It is always about one and only one thing: control. It is usually perpetuated by those who desperately want control, but are lack security in some way, lack legitimacy, lack both resources and morals, have ego problems, and/or lack conditions vital to human existence such as housing, shelter, etc. I try to blame anyone, as blaming is unproductive and I have never seen blaming improve any situation. Rather I try to analyze root causes and try to develop a plan of eliminating the problem.

Corruption or backing it has to stop, accidental bombing of weddings has to stop first. Doctors have to be associated not with the problem: bombing, violence, corruption, torture, ...but with the solution, and should have the protection of native tribal leaders of the area.

It is so sad that some people are so focused on themselves and their own goals, that they become sociopathic killers, and kill hundreds. By killing that doctor, not only did they kill the doctors, but the patients who desperately need the treatment.

Miss Universe Evening Dress Photo

Here it is.

I am now taking modeling lessons at X Models Managment, took some portfolio shots. Those should come up shortly

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Fashion Design

  • I am now taking sewing/couture lessons at Darrell Thomas. My instructor is phenomenal, has a great understanding of couture. Meanwhile Darrell Thomas has an exquisite boutique collection of couture fabrics. It is like being in a candy-store. I linger around the fabric store near the class gawking at fabrics until they tell me, sorry, we are closing.

I am leaning fashion design to learn what it takes to make a garment. I hope that combined with micro-credit, sewing machines are the new women's liberation for in developing countries. An example would be in Somalia, at the Borama National Fistula Hospital's micro-credit program. I am trying my best to understand this very practical skill, and teach it to others. I wrote my thesis on micro-finance. We give micro-credit for women to learn a skill and start a business that can be marketable internationally... but what skill besides finance could I teach them. A skill that is practical and needed everywhere. Answer: Sewing!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

AFP - 13 year Yemeni child-bride dies from internal bleeding after wedding

AFP) - A 13-year-old Yemeni girl who was forced into marriage died five days after her wedding when she suffered a rupture in her sex organs and hemorrhaging, a local Rights organization said Thursday. Ilham Mahdi al Assi died last Friday in a Hospital in Yemen's Hajja province, the Shaqaeq Arab Forum for Human Rights said in a statement quoting a medical report. She was wedded the previous Monday in a traditional arrangement known as a "swap marriage," in which the brother of the bride also married the sister of the groom, it said.

"The child Ilham has died as a martyr due to the abuse of children's lives in Yemen," the non-governmental organization said.

Her death was a "flagrant example" of the results of opposing the ban on child marriage in Yemen, which was leading to "killing child females," it said.

The marriage of young girls is widespread in Yemen, which has a strong tribal structure.

The death of a 12-year-old girl in childbirth in September illustrated the case of the country's "brides of death," many of whom were married off even before puberty.

Controversy heightened in Yemen recently over a law banning child marriage in the impoverished country through setting a minimum age of 17 for women and 18 for men.

Thousands of conservative women demonstrated outside parliament last month, answering a call by Islamist parties opposing the law.

A lesser number of women rallied at the same venue a few days later in support of the law, the implementation of which was blocked pending a request by a group of politicians for a review.

Life in Canada

Here are a few snapshots of life in Canada. The urban and rural environments are so close.

In politics, I do not think the rural-urban divide should or can be breached. Witness Iran or Ottawa city politics. Perhaps it is the most passionate of all political divides. Instead, a model should enable authentic presentation for both interests, some decentralization and greater autonomy. The states-man like behavior for reaching a noble-middle ground would dilute a party's brand, making them inauthentic to core voters, hardly inspiring voters to put cash towards a party.

Yes, there is a tax break in Canada, but there are many flavors of ice-cream to choose from. A party's survival depends on an image of authenticity towards its core group. Not understanding that will cost them votes. Taking that into account, if one party from a predominantly urban or predominantly rural constitutency wins the parliament in a winner-take all single-vote West Minister system, then the interests of the rest of the country would be squashed.

(Me, Divine and Ashely, from the Ottawa, Toronto, etc. Sun article in real life)

Perhaps proportional representation, but not to the extreme Israel and Italy took it with a 1 per cent threshold for a single district multiple vote system. (29 political parties in Israel. Germany's system: 3 parties, and they form coalition governments). A coalition government with a better proportional representation system with some decentralization is perhaps the best real way to bridge the urban-rural divide.

Thoughts anyone?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

What I learned from the beauty world- men, skip this, women relish and read!

So, being competitive in the field of beauty, I try many products. Somethings work, some don't, and I learn a lot about application, a healthy lifestyle that I just didn't know before. I think all you non-beauty pageant contestants reading, especially fellow nerds can benefit.


Joeseph's Indian Human hair extensions, glued on, are the best by far. My mother and I can't tell my real hair from my fake hair. They picked three colour strands to match mine and did amazing make-up, the best I have had on me. Joeseph's is in the mall, at Rideau Centre. Retail, these extensions cost $500. It's worth it though.

Styling: I can't do mouse with extensions and I was balding before due to post-traumtic stress. To stop the balding, I took Nutricap, which was great for my hair, my nails, and it grows fast with it. They are vitamins for the hair, and is the most effective thing I have tried.

I have tried hair irons, straighteners, curling irons, wide barrel, thin barrel, everything, expensive high-end to low end. Many of the ladies at Miss Universe used old fashioned curls. With my extensions, I used electric heating curls I bought at wallmart. I wish I had learned this before Miss Universe. The larger the curls, the better for long hair, looks more elegant. It brought a similar look to Joeseph's and smooth. A large barrel curling iron, and inch and a half in diameter with a straighter, like at the pageant, was the next best thing, but had frizzy results.

For the effect at the top, you curl all the hair at the top of your head horizontal, in one line. Then you get the hair at the crown out of the way. On the sides, you curl your hair vertically.

Hair spray is essential or the look will die. For the stage or an evening, lots of hairspray. For a date or job interview, much lighter hairspray that emphasizes shine.


Joeseph's fake lash secret: To make fake lashes look real, Joeseph's cuts part of the eyelash. Secondly, stick the fake eyelash to the beginning of the hairs of your eyelash. After it settles, add eyeliner again and masacra, and make sure the real and fake lashes merge seemlessly. Use a small paint brush, or a toothpick with the sharp edge remove to push down the fake eyelashes instead of your fingers. Your fingers could be at the bottom of the fake eyelash, but never at the top when applying.

Also, if you have fake eyelashes, keep eyelash glue and a small mirror and a small paint brush/toothpick with you at all times.

Miss Universe fake eyelash secret: Dry the eyelash glue for 2 minutes, until it gets tacky/sticky, put it on a tray. And then brush the bottom of the fake eyelash in the tray, so that you don't get too much glue on the eyelash, or its bad for the natural lashes and looks icky.

BIGGEST EYELASH MISTAKE: Applying eyelashes to the skin. They will fall off, guaranteed. You must apply them to hairs. Once I learned that, mine never fall off, even once when I accidently left them on overnight. Btw, don't torture your eyes, and leave them over night.

Fake eyelashes are too be removed with waterproof makeup remover, and cotton ear-buds for the ears, clean of course.

We were given an eyelash conditioner from Murual which was absolutely amazing. And yes, they do double the length of your eyelashes.

For that well rested look: two things work. 1) Botox if you are in your fourties or ruined your face by alnighters. 2) a good night's rest as a habit.

Late nighters aren't worth it. Flunk or drop the damned class, reduce your work load, use contraceptives! It creates a toll on your body, increases your chances of cancer according to a study with nurses, developmentally delays the brain.

By sleeping at decent hours, I was able to reduce the look of wrinkles, undereyes. My cheeks had already sunk and it was too late to do anything about them. Well, I reasoned, that was the cost of my thesis.

Crystalis Clinic restored my cheeks to what they were before my thesis and cleaned my skin with intensive laser treatment. For the first time in my life since puberty I am able to got outside without make up! They are fantastic! My mom tried the same on her hands, which started to age. The hands are young again! My mom had a youthful face and old hands from driving in the sun without gloves. Now her hands match her face.

Skin: At Miss Universe, almost all the girls used a fake tan body lotion. No one went tanning, used a tanning bed or any of that cancer-causing non-sense. Besides, it causes wrinkles, and ages the skin quickly. No beauty queen wants that! This summer, wear an SPF 50 lotion and tan at home!

I tried real versus fake tanning. Yes, I am bad, guilty as charged. I forgot to put on my lotion at a friend's beach party. I had tan lines, it wasn't smoothe. With tanning, the ladies used a tinted moisturizer. I mixed mined with a body lotion to flow smoothely. Use a light one that gradually builds. To even results, the ladies scrubbed the tan. If you got it on your hands, just use nail polish remover.

Live a healthy lifestyle, go to the gym, eat healthy, sleep healthy, and you'll look beautiful. I learned that any woman can be beautiful if she puts effort into her apperance and lives a healthy lifestyle. At the pageant, the yoga instructor won best body, and yes it was the most attractive one. Beauty in a way is signalling health. Yes, a lot of it is artificial, like cutting the hair, fake tanning, etc. but what isn't.

Beauty is elegant, looks natural, often isn't, and never endangers your health, but enhances it. I.E. Botox in your fourties, yes. Boob-job, no. Eyeglasses are not natural, medicine is not natural, but it enhances are lives. The key is to look naturally beautiful and healthy, and try to be healthy, kind and have a light from the inside that can only come from a good kind heart. On the stage or at night, it does require exaggeration to maintain the same look you have in the day or the darkness will swallow your features.

What is sexy: healthy body, walking right, back straight like a queen or goddess, a sweet personality, intelligence, a purpose in life, goals in life, strength of character (being nice but having strong boundaries where no means no), some originality balanced with being a teamplayer, elegance and good taste, long hair, and know thyself. Yes, long hair, even if you are 85. But a geniune smile from the heart makes a woman the most beautiful. Find that reason to smile, that person, that job, that relationship!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Won Miss Congeniality at Miss Universe!

I am back and with photos! I can't begin on saying how awesome the experience was!!!!

[Below: Maria Al-Masani pics photographed by Fadil Beshera, Halle Berry's photographer]

[Maria Al-Masani, below. Beautiful tall blonde is Elena, Miss Universe Canada]

Maria Al-Masani winning Miss Congeniality, first Yemeni-Canadian to do so.

The bottom two are by Photographer Extrodinaire, Nick Allum

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Final days before competition

I have been at the gym almost every day.

I am nervous. I am putting my things together, attaching the last peacock feathers to a dress, hemming another, ironing. I am fretting. I hope I have everything. I am packing my suitcase. I had a reception at Hy's to mourn the death of my father and for good-luck a the pageant. Next day, a photo-shoot.

One of my two designers, is Yves-Jean Lacasse, who is phenomenal. His clothes are stunning and his atlier is like a living museum, where cultures flow through each other as verse. I don't know how he does it all! Photos coming up.

Also, spent some time at the beach.

Worked. Nervous. Very nervous. I hope I have everything. I have no idea what to expect. Below is Aida, who fitted argueably the world's most beautiful evening gown on me. It does contain a sari, and is approximantely 10 metres of fabric... or more if you include the lining. I applied over 100 crystals, she is sewing beads today. It is a lot of work, but it is beautiful. Here is a photo of her taking my measurements. The blouse and suit-pants are not to be mistaken for the beautiful gown she made. She also made that gown for Barbie at 50, and was the winner of Ottawa Project Runway. She is phenomenal.


Saturday, May 29, 2010

BBC- More facebook users in the Middle East than Newspaper Readers!!!

Facebook outstrips Arab newspapers - survey
Page last updated at 18:49 GMT, Monday, 24 May 2010 19:49 UK
E-mail this to a friend Printable version By Magdi Abdelhadi
BBC Middle East editor

Internet use in the Arab world is on the rise There are now more Facebook users in the Arab world than newspaper readers, a survey suggests.

The research by Spot On Public Relations, a Dubai-based agency, says there are more than 15 million subscribers to the social network.

The total number of newspaper copies in Arabic, English and French is just under 14 million.

The findings seem to confirm the increasing popularity of the social interaction platforms in the region.


Spot On Public Relations, a marketing and communications agency, says the figures show that such platforms are beginning to define how Arabs discover and share information.

In Egypt alone, there are 3.5 million users, which is way beyond the circulation of any of the biggest dailies.

Even in conservative Saudi Arabia, people have been quick to embrace Facebook. It is the country with the second-largest membership after Egypt.

One-third of the population in the United Arab Emirates are said to be on Facebook.

The findings should come as no surprise. The majority of the region's more than 300 million people is young, and internet use is on the rise.

In societies where political freedoms are severely limited, many have also resorted to Facebook as an alternative to the public sphere.

But the survey does not provide a detailed breakdown of how it is used in Arab countries - for example how much of it is for chatting and making friends and how much is for political and social campaigning.

But it contains valuable information for advertisers who want to reach the largest possible number of people.

Nuclear-Free Middle East.

This article is from BBC.

Israel shouldn't be complaining about Iran's attempt to having nuclear weapons if it has over 200 itself. Iran follows mutually assured destruction, MAD doctrine, Kennan's thesis if I do recall correctly.

The arguement that Iran shouldn't have nuclear weapons is a very salient one. Israelis have a point, but you can't have a double standard.

Nukes: Either everyone has them or no-one has them. I think that is smart.

I prefer no nukes to nuclear peace, but often nuclear peace prevents conventional war. After Hiroshima, nuclear weapons were never used. Yet there were many close calls, such as with India and Pakistan.

Nuclear-free Middle East is an excellent proposal. If not, a nuclear peace could prevent further invasions, such as the carnage in Iraq. Would more people have died in a nuclear attack, that was swift, or this carnage carried on for years? Which is better?

The MAD doctrine prevented World War III between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. I am not going to take sides here, just observe the merits of various arguements. They are all quite interesting. The main thing is that the status quo is untenable. Besides, 30% of Egyptians are illeterate and live on one dollar a day.



UN talks back conference on nuclear-free Middle East
Page last updated at 8:56 GMT, Saturday, 29 May 2010 9:56 UK
E-mail this to a friend Printable version Iran has faced international pressure over its nuclear programme Nearly 200 nations, signatories of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), have agreed to work towards a nuclear-weapons-free zone in the Middle East.

The members, meeting at the UN in New York, called for a conference in 2012 attended by Middle Eastern states - including Iran - to establish the zone.

The unanimously agreed document also said that Israel should sign the NPT.

US President Barack Obama backed the deal but said he was "strongly opposed" to Israel being singled out.

The US says the reference could jeopardise efforts to persuade the Israelis to attend the 2012 talks.

An Israel official later denounced the document as "hypocrisy".

"Only Israel is mentioned, while the text is silent about other countries like India, Pakistan and North Korea, which have nuclear arms, or even more seriously, Iran, which is seeking to obtain them," a senior government official told AFP news agency on condition of anonymity.

'Important step'

The 28-page final declaration was agreed by 189 member states following intense talks on the last day of a month-long conference on strengthening the NPT, the cornerstone of global disarmament efforts.

Continue reading the main story All eyes the world over are watching us
Libran Cabactulan

NPT conference president
The document calls for the United Nations secretary general to organise a meeting of Middle East states in 2012 to agree to the creation of a "zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction".

"All eyes the world over are watching us," said conference president Libran Cabactulan, of the Philippines, as the final text was approved.

Egypt's Maged Abedelaziz, speaking for the Non-Aligned Movement of 118 developing nations, welcomed the decision, saying it was "an important step forward towards the realisation of the goals and objectives of the treaty".

Diplomats discussing the proposals had continued talks late into the night on Thursday before resuming on Friday.

One of the sticking points involved Israel, which is not a member of the NPT, and is widely believed to have nuclear weapons. It has never admitted possessing them.

Arab states and Israel's allies had to work hard to find agreement over wording for the proposed nuclear-weapons-free zone.

Continue reading the main story However flawed some believe the existing non-proliferation machinery to be, all agree that it has at least been partially rehabilitated after a decade of failure
Barbara Plett

BBC UN correspondent

Modest progress at NPT talks
Correspondents say Arab nations want to put pressure on Israel to relinquish its undeclared nuclear arsenal.

Iran also made a late demand that the five recognised nuclear-armed nations agree to a timetable for negotiating a treaty to abolish their arsenals.

In the final document adopted, no specific timetable is set out but the five states commit to "accelerate concrete progress" towards reducing their nuclear arsenals and to report back on that in 2014.

Iran has faced repeated questions over its own nuclear programme, which the West believes is aimed at making weapons. Tehran insists it is solely designed to meet its energy needs.

Iran, a member of the NPT, says it will stick to its obligations under the treaty.

The NPT has encountered difficulty in coming up with the best method for monitoring suspect nuclear programmes in Iran and North Korea.

India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel - which are known or suspected to have nuclear weapons - are not signatories to the treaty. They are not covered by any NPT agreement.

The NPT conference meets every five years. The last review conference, in 2005, failed to adopt a consensus declaration.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

for my father

I miss my father and regret so much that I wasn't able to be there for him in his last days. I walk in the streets, my eyes streaming with tears like thunder, but no rain comes from the sky.

Palestinian Poet Laureate, Mahmoud Darwish,

“To faces which wither under the mask of melancholy,
I bow
To roads on which I forgot my tears,
to a father who died as green as a cloud
with a sail upon his face,
I bow ."

Ibn Abbas- "When I visit you and the moon
Isn't around to show me the way,
Comets of longing set my heart
So much ablaze, the earth is lit
By the holocaust under my ribs"

How can I be coherant with the earth is ablaze to me, in a fiery conflagration from the holocaust under my ribs, as I mourn the death of my father, who wrote in sky-azure letters the word freedom, to escape between eternities of this life and the next. I can no longer tell him, that sometimes, he cheered me up, sometimes he made me laugh hysterically and to this day, no one tells funnier stories. How can I tell him, that though I feared him, that I understood the broken man behind the anger, the human being who was my father.

The world does not have mercy, not on him, nor on me, so I must make the best of it. CTV asked for my childhood footage and now they lost it. So instead, I search for him in the rustling of trees and the fragrance of the lilacs that are abundant near the water-falls next door.

I feel almost alone in my grief. He wasn't the best father, but he was MY father, and that makes all the difference.

Much love,

Sunday, May 23, 2010

make-over, competition


I am excited about my competition, and have since had a makeover. Here are some photos!

Me and mommy, then just myself.